British scientific writing is renowned for its understatements. The reviewer's favorite examples are from two famous papers. The first occurs in the article by Watson and Crick on the molecular structure of nucleic acids: "We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of dioxyribose nucleic acid (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest." 1 This paper of course contains the essence of the Watson-Crick model of DNA, a model which revolutionized aspects of molecular genetics and which earned its authors the Nobel prize.
An equally pregnant understatement is the second example: "To the students of heredity the inborn errors of metabolism offer a promising field of investigation..." This sentence occurs in the first Croonian lecture delivered by A. E. Garrod before the Royal College of Physicians in London, in June, 1908, when he was 50 years old and not yet Full Physician to St.
Opitz JM. Garrod's Inborn Errors of Metabolism. Arch Intern Med. 1964;113(6):898–899. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.00280120098023
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